Best Tools for Removing Paint from Wood

Are you planning on giving your wood furniture a makeover? Great! Here are the best tools for removing paint from wood. And while you could just sand it off, that would be a lot of work and might damage the wood. So what’s the best way to remove paint from wood?

Using the right tools, of course! We will cover some of the furniture painting tools and supplies that are must haves for removing paint from wood effectively and efficiently.

power sander, citristrip chemical stripper and carbide scraper to remove paint from wood

In this post, I’m going to show you how to remove paint from wood without damaging the underlying surface.

Click here for the paint removal checklist and guide

Because let’s face it, we all want our furniture to look beautiful without compromising its quality.

With these top tools for removing paint from wood, you’ll be able to get rid of any unwanted layers of paint and proceed with your furniture makeover in no time.

So whether you’re restoring an old piece of furniture or just giving your home a fresh coat of paint, read on for the best tips and tools.

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Chemical Stripper

citristrip paint and varnish stripping gel

Citristrip is a popular brand of chemical stripper that does a great job of removing paint from wood furniture.

All you need to do is apply the stripper to the surface with a brush, wait for it to work its magic, and then scrape the paint off with a putty knife.

applying citristrip with a brush on wood surface

Once you’re done, clean the surface with mineral spirits and you’re good to go.

Just be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and a respirator when using chemical strippers, as they can be quite harsh on your skin and lungs.

Citristrip is a less toxic chemical stripper, and that’s why I love it. But I do still like to protect my lungs and skin. So I wear a respirator and gloves.

Learn more about how to remove paint with a chemical stripper here.

Can I use a chemical stripper on any surface?

Yes, Citristrip is designed to be effective on a variety of surfaces including wood, metal, and masonry. It can remove dried paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac, among others.

This makes it a versatile option for any DIY project that involves removing paint or finish from different surfaces.

However, it is always recommended to test the product on a small, inconspicuous area first before using it on larger areas.

This can help guarantee that there are no adverse reactions or damage to the surface being stripped.

In some cases, certain surfaces may require multiple applications of Citristrip for complete paint removal. This could be due to the type or thickness of the paint, or the condition of the surface.

If this is the case, it is important to follow the instructions on the product and allow enough time for the stripper to work effectively.

If you want to give a piece a fresh new look without the hassle of sanding, here’s how to remove paint from wood without sanding!

Power Sander

surfprep 3x4" sander for removing paint from wood

A power sander will make quick work of removing paint from wood furniture. Use a coarse-grit sandpaper, but be careful to not damage the wood underneath.

Check out the best sandpaper for furniture painting here. And learn more about this SurfPrep Sander and why I use it all the time here.

Remember to move the sander in the same direction as the grain of the wood to avoid scratches. And once you’re done sanding, vacuum up all the dust and finish with a tack cloth before painting.

Check out my SurfPrep Vacuum POV-8 review here to learn all about it. You can learn more on how to sand down wood here.

removing white paint from wood furniture with a surfprep 3x4 sander

There are two types of power sanders that will do the job: an orbital sander or a palm sander.

Orbital sanders are larger and will remove paint faster, but they can also be more difficult to control. Palm sanders are smaller and easier to maneuver, but they’ll take longer to remove the paint.

Ultimately, the type of sander you use is a matter of personal preference.

Here is a list of the best sanders to remove paint. You can also read our blog post about foam sanding pads for electric sanders here.

You can also read through this post to learn the importance of sanding before repainting your furniture.

Carbide Scraper

a carbide scraper used to remove paint or varnish from wood

A carbide scraper is a great option if you’re dealing with multiple layers of paint or varnish. These scrapers have sharp blades that can quickly remove even the most stubborn paint buildup.

Just be careful not to gouge or scratch the wood surface as you scrape—go slowly and steady yourself so that you have complete control over the blade at all times.

scraping off paint from wood using a carbide scraper

And when you’re finished scraping, sand down any rough edges with medium-grit sandpaper.

I personally have used a carbide scraper to remove paint and stain from wood, and it seems to be the fastest method. But, you also have to put your back into it to remove the paint quickly.

Check out how we used the carbide scraper in this blue chalk paint coffee table makeover.

Heat Gun

a heat gun and a putty knife for removing paint from wood

A heat gun is another great tool for removing paint from wood. Simply hold the gun about six inches away from the surface and wave it back and forth until the paint starts to blister.

pointing a heat gun to the wood surface while scraping the paint with a putty knife

Then, use a putty knife or paint scraper to remove the paint. Just be careful not to overheat the wood, as this can damage it.

And as with chemical strippers and power sanders, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and a respirator when using a heat gun.

I personally have tried a heat gun to remove the paint from a dresser, and it was harder than it looked like it was going to be.

I don’t know if I did it right or wrong, but it was a very slow process, and I was worried about burning the wood underneath the paint.

Check out this DIY fluted dresser makeover, where I removed paint using a heat gun.

The Best Tool for Removing Paint from Wood

There are several different ways to remove paint from wood furniture, but some methods are better than others.

Chemical strippers like Citristrip are effective but can be harsh on your skin and lungs, so be sure to use them in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves and a respirator.

But you don’t have to worry about sanding through the thin wood veneer if you use a chemical stripper to remove the paint first.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to strip paint from wood furniture using Citristrip.

Power sanders are also great for removing paint, but be careful not to damage the wood underneath by using too high of a setting or sanding in directions other than the grain.

In my opinion, it takes about the same amount of active time to remove paint with a power sander or with a chemical stripper.

A chemical stripper overall takes longer, though, because you have to wait for the stripper to react to the paint, and you have to wait for the wood to dry after you have cleaned off all of the paint and residue.

Carbide scrapers are perfect for dealing with multiple layers of stubborn paint but exercise caution so that you don’t accidentally gouge or scratch the wood surface.

A heat gun is also a viable option for removing paint but be mindful not to overheat the wood as this can damage it.

Whichever method you choose, just be sure to finish up by sanding down any rough edges before painting or staining.

Are there any special techniques for removing paint from curved surfaces?

Removing paint from curved surfaces can be a bit trickier than flat surfaces, but with the right techniques, it can be done effectively.

One method is to use a sander that can handle curved surfaces. These tools can easily reach into tight spaces and contours to remove paint without damaging the surface.

Sanding contour grips can also be helpful when working with curved surfaces. These grips are designed to fit comfortably in your hand and allow for better control and precision when sanding.

Here’s our post on how to sand curved surfaces for more tips and tricks on tackling furniture with such details.

Removing paint from wood can be a time-consuming and messy process, but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.

So whether you’re stripping paint from furniture or walls, be sure to use the best tool for the job to make the job as easy as possible.

If you’re an Amazon shopper, head on over to the Best Amazon Deals to save big while getting top-notch products.

Also, you should check out the top furniture refinishing tools that will make your project perfect!

Do you have any tips or more of the best tools for removing paint from wood? Let me know in the comments!

More Removing Paint and Stain Resources

Click here for the paint removal checklist and guide

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